The launch event in Earls Court assembled the who’s who of the Mobile world to view the Galaxy SIII, an introduction to the iPhone’s arch enemy.
With more organic lines than the previous generation the new Galaxy SIII has been designed to make life better, your own personal digital assistant perhaps. Not only is it a technology powerhouse but it is one intelligent smartphone. With facial recognition integrated throughout, the phone even knows who’s in your photo’s.
The phone will be available in Europe first, May 29, with a 10 city tour and rolling release for the rest of the world. The USA release date will be mid 2012 while no exact date is known for Australia or New Zealand.
Also announced at the event was Samsung’s partnership with the London Olympics, making the Galaxy SIII the official smartphone of the 2012 London Olympic games.
The phone was shown off by The Gadget Show’s Suzi Perry at a high-profile event at London’s Earls Court exhibition centre – a large, clearly expensive stage show that had a distinct resemblance to Apple’s well-choreographed showings for new iPhones and iPads. ‘This is the biggest launch event of the year,’ said Perry.
The S Phone
The Superphone category of smartphones represents the upper echelons of smartphones, with leading edge technology and price tags to match. The iPhone 4S leads the pack, while the group also includes the HTC One X, LG Optimus 2X, soon to be released Optimus 4X HD and now the Samsung Galaxy SIII.
Most impressively Samsung have managed to fit a whole lot of Superphone into a shell just 8.55mm thick and weighing just 133 grams (136.6 x 70.6 x 8.55 mm). A shell available in two colors initially, Pebble Blue or Marble White. Here at Highpants we unanimously voted that this phone actually looks better in white. While carbon fiber was the most requested dream (special edition?) shell. Although it seems the soft lines and generous girth, due to the screen, blend into a white shell nicely.
The SIII continues its Galaxy family heritage, with a slightly curvy body and simple clean design. The screen is the center-piece of the design though, and it looks impressive, as it should on any Superphone. Samsung are emphasizing their natural inspirations when designing the SIII, a theme held to through-out the phones design, hardware and software.
Even though the SIII incorporates a larger 4.8 inch screen, 22% larger than the S2, it is only slightly larger, 16%, than its predecessor. New ultra-thin bezel technology has allowed Samsung to take the display almost completely to the edge of the phone. Realizing their claim of the phone fitting in the palm of any hand while blurring the lines between tablet and smartphone.
The SIII’s display utilizes Samsung’s latest display technology to produce an incredibly sharp and colorful display. The 4.8 inch Super AMOLED display fills your hand with a high refresh rate (0.01 ms response, high resolution (720 x 1280, 306ppi) display. Impressively fluid video and extremely high frame-rate gaming provided by the combination of display and graphics processing power. All covered in Corning’s Gorilla Glass protection.
Processing power is provided by Samsung’s Exynos 4 Quad system on a chip, containing a 1.4 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and an ARM Mali-400 MP GPU. The Quad core power not only provides ample gaming and media performance, but Samsung have put the extra cores to work multitasking. Able to pop your active video into a window while you text or generally do other tasks.
As a media playback device the SIII could easily out-perform the best dedicated media device, not by accident. All Share Play and Cast allows any WiFi Direct compatible device to display the S3’s screen. Remote control functions are also included.
Samsung have also created the wireless All Share dongle that allows the S3 to display on any HDMI enabled screen.
Samsung has managed to balance higher performance and power, expect 13 hours battery life. A combination of low power display – AMOLED don’t required backlighting – and gains in processor efficiency have held the power monster at bay for another generation. Internally a completely replaceable 2,100mha battery keeps the phone chugging along all day. Available as an option Samsung have created a wireless charging system that is by far the neatest integration yet.
Android 4.0.4, ICS out of the box. Samsung are starting to properly integrate Androids multi-tasking. Also helped by the quad core processor windowed multi-tasking comes to the palm of your hand.
1GB of system DRAM gives ICS plenty of room to move, keeping it running at full speed even with a multitude of applications open. On board storage will be available in 3 sizes, 16, 32 and 64GB with a micro SD slot allowing an additional 64GB to be added. If the potential 128GB of onboard Flash isn’t enough Samsung and Dropbox have teamed up to offer each SIII customer 50GB of internet based storage. Integrated into the interface your DropBox space appears as just another drive.
As the song says the SIII is wired for sound. With every available wireless connection, NFC, Wi-Fi, enhanced GPS, 2.5G and 3G.LTE and 4G versions being prepared. Wireless power has been integrated with the optional Wireless charger.
Samsung have pushed camera technology with improvements in resolution and speed. The 8 megapixel back-lit sensor, with led flash, includes Zero shutter lag and a new impressive burst mode. Best Photo is Samsung’s new catch-phrase for fast start-up combined with a burst mode wrapped up with software that selects the best photo from a burst.
The camera’s details are impressive, able to start the camera in under a second, while burst mode allows 3.3 shots per second to be taken for 20 shots. A 1.9MPixel front facing camera is also provided, for the SIII to watch us with.
Some of the most impressive aspects of the SIII are the little details Samsung have built in. The front facing camera is used to watch the phones user. The Smart Stay function is able to sense when we are using the phone, even when not tapping away at the screen, reading a .pdf for example.
Smart Stay makes use of facial recognition software to watch our eyes, while your using the S3 the front facing camera tracks your face. While you are reading it ensures the screen stays on, keeping the screen blanker at bay. Realizing using your phone often doesn’t involve touching the screen Samsung have built that knowledge into their Superphone.
The camera is even socially aware, automatic tagging of pictures with the option to send images directly to those identified in new pictures, called Buddy Photo Share. Also displaying social media profile information on screen for each of your friends captured by the phone. Group Tag lets you tag multiple people in one go, if you set up a group first.
The SIII’s rear camera can also make use of facial recognition, able to identify people in a photo from their online lives.
Samsung has also built many other functions into the SIII, all of them attempt to bring together the SIII’s technology in new and handy ways, making life easier.
Smart Alert is Samsung’s enhanced notifications center that tells you what’s happened since you last looked at your phone in order of importance. S-Voice is Samsung’s take on voice activation. Allowing complete hands free control of your phone. Direct Call uses the action of raising the phone to your ear to initiate a call to the contact on screen at the time.
S Beam lets two SIII’s bond / connect instantly, simply place them back to back, then share at a single click. Using a mix of NFC and Wi-Fi direct it is the fastest and easiest way to share between phones, with speeds up to 300Mbs.
All Share Cast also uses the Wifi Direct to share the phones screen, mirroring it onto other devices. The All Share Cast dongle allows the galaxy S3 to share content with any HDMI enabled device.
The only real downside reported is the cheap plastic feel of the case. The other Superphones use Aluminium or Magnesium for their high end phones. Samsung have built in plenty of room for special edition cases, some carbon fiber perhaps.
Your personal digital assistant of the future, the only real competition to the iPhone, the SIII. Samsung have created an incredibly appealing experience, serene and natural this is finally a phone that aims to make you more relaxed. Like a help-desk call that does actually help, a pleasant level of surprise is often experienced.
With a higher resolution, larger and better looking display backed up by twice the processing and graphics power of the iPhone 4S (iPhone 4S’s 3.5 inch 640 x 960 Retina display, Dual Core A5 processor) Samsung have produced a technology tour de force built into a svelte good looking intelligent Superphone.
The Samsung Galaxy SIII has every chance of displacing the iPhone 4S as the king of the Superphones, in both sales numbers and desirability. With next generation technology driving a new level of software integration and intelligence the Samsung Galaxy SIII will capture attention. Samsung may not have the lead for long as rumors of Apple’s iPhone 5 gather pace. The S2 has already sold 20 million units, Samsung are pushing hard to set new records with the S3, steam rolling Apple in the process.
The product roll out will start in Europe May 29, with 4G/LTE models for the USA in mid-2012. No word on release dates for Australian or New Zealand as of yet. Pricing of the phone is expected to be $699.99 USD with-out strings, along with $199 to $299 for various contract configurations.
Samsung Galaxy SIII (GT-i9300) Specifications
Network: 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
Network: 3G (HSPA＋ 21Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
Network: 4G (Dependent on market)
Display: 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED (1280×720) display
OS: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Camera Rear: 8 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with Flash & Zero Shutter Lag
Camera Front: 1.9 Mega pixel camera, HD recording @30fps with Zero Shutter Lag
Video: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8, Sorenson Spark. Recording & Playback: Full HD (1080p)
Audio: MP3, AMR-NB/WB, AAC/AAC＋/eAAC＋, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AC-3, apt-X
Connectivity: WiFi a/b/g/n, WiFi HT40
Connectivity: Bluetooth® 4.0(LE)
Sensors: Accelerometer, RGB light, Digital compass, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer
Memory: 16/32/64GB internal ＋ microSD slot (up to 64GB)
Dimensions: 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm, 133g
Battery: 2,100 mAh